Mark Bowen’s first game in charge of the Royals ended in dramatic fashion with Matt Miazga volleying in the winner from a late corner in the last minute of added time.
It was heartbreak for Preston and for the 1,012 PNE fans who made the trip to Madejski, as it could be argued that the points deserved to be shared.
Manager Alex Neil made two changes to the side that defeated Barnsley last time out, with Darnell Fisher returning from suspension and Andrew Hughes replacing Joe Rafferty in the starting eleven.
Preston were putting on all the pressure in the first few moments, with an early chance coming from Andrew Hughes supplying a deep ball into the box, falling to the chest of Tom Barkhuizen, who failed to direct it anywhere other than the hands of Reading goalkeeper Rafael.
Paul Gallagher then delivered the ball into the Reading box from a free-kick on the right- hand side, with the ball finding it’s way to defender Ben Davies, who failed to get a touch.
Reading had their first chance of the game from a free-kick struck by John Swift, that Declan Rudd comfortably parried away.
Preston full-back Darnell Fisher saw plenty of the ball during the game, with quick interplay between Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson allowing the number 2 to fire the ball into the box onto the head of David Nugent, who sent a header straight into the hands of the Reading stopper.
Reading gained the attacking impetus in the second half, with Yiadom finding space on the right, he tried to pick out Pușcaș in the box but Rudd got there first and retrieved the ball.
Yiadom again showed great skill in tricking past the Preston defence and picking out Ejaria in the box, whose shot flew past the post from 12 yards out. The pair’s quick movement caused clear problems for the visitors in the latter stages of the game.
Seven minutes of added time was to be played after a number of head injuries for both sides, with, most notably, Michael Morrison having to be heavily bandaged on the pitch, which took several minutes.
In the dying seconds of the game Reading found their way through. Davies conceded a corner which Swift swung into the box. Obita fired the ball into the danger area, with it eventually breaking to Miazga who half-volleyed it into the goal, with Declan Rudd managing a fingertip to it.
The goal ultimately sunk Preston who left the Madejski stadium disheartened, with it looking likely the two sides would share the spoils. But North End can look to next week, when games against Leeds United and local rivals Blackburn Rovers provide the perfect opportunity for retribution.
Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Miazga, Morrison, Moore (c), Obita, Pelé (Adam 84), Ejaria, Swift, Méïté (Loader 70), Pușcaș (Baldock 70).
Unused subs: Walker, McIntyre, Blackett, Richards.
Preston North End: Rudd, Fisher, Davies, Bauer, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (c) (Browne 58), Maguire, Johnson, Barkhuizen (Stockley 69), Nugent (Harrop 58).
Unused subs: Ripley, Rafferty, Ledson, Potts.
Attendance: 14,135 (1,012 away)